Veterans Housing Complex:
Getting our heroes off the streets and into housing while offering access to the skills needed to become independent and self-sufficient, is an opportunity to actively change peoples’ lives for the better. This program is a great example of how the City of Las Cruces is coming together in a collaborative effort to end homelessness and help those that have helped our nation.
In October 2012, the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope (MVCH), a service center for the homeless in southern New Mexico, began housing homeless Veterans at a 20-unit housing complex owned by the local housing authority. MVCH received funding from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority and the New Mexico Department of Veterans to subsidize the rent for a short amount of time for the Veterans while also providing monthly home visits and case management. MVCH also obtained seed funding from a private foundation to begin holding self-sufficiency trainings onsite at the apartment complex to ensure that Veterans are receiving wrap-around services that will address the barriers that led to their homelessness in an effort to prevent the Veterans from returning to the streets. Last year, MVCH helped homeless Veterans 1,127 times! On any given night, there are about 131,000 homeless Veterans, and Veterans overall are more likely to report obstacles in their lives that have contributed to their homelessness such as mental health issues, substance abuse, limitations to obtaining work and medical conditions than those that are nonveterans. Traditionally, the answer to these issues seemed to be the responsibility of the government, but MVCH on a more local level, is doing what it can to support Veterans in a more unique fashion that extends far beyond a housing voucher.
Once a homeless Veteran is housed at the complex through MVCH and the subsidy begins, the participant is given a calendar of trainings and social events held five days a week on site in the multi-purpose room. A program coordinator for the Sufficiency Program coordinates a mix of therapists, volunteers, professionals and Veteran organizations to partner in giving trainings. The Program Coordinator also provides outreach to ensure the Veterans attend the classes.
MVCH currently partners with the City of Las Cruces Senior Volunteer Program, United Military Women of the Southwest, New Mexico State University Counseling Department, Department of Workforce Solutions, The Vet Center, City of Las Cruces Veteran ADVISORY Board participants, and many others to provide PTSD counseling and seminars, equine therapy, problem- solving art projects, barbecues, school enrollment assistance, budgeting, computer trainings, nutrition classes, one-on-one counseling, and many other socialization and training opportunities. MVCH realizes that the more tools a homeless Veteran has to become self-sufficient, the more likely he or she is to become permanently and stably housed, which is the ultimate goal.
Once the rental subsidy ends, the Veteran will assume payment of the rent and will still have access to all of the classes and trainings for as long as the program continues. We have seen the Veterans become engaged with each other during the trainings, coming out of their shells, sharing pieces of their lives with each other to become a support system within the small training room walls. Each Veteran has a common thread that binds them together in that they were once homeless and are honored Veterans. Without the program, we fear the homeless Veterans will lose that support system and will lose out on the opportunities to improve their lives by acquiring skills necessary to again enter the workforce and/or school programs.
This program will reach at least 22 homeless clients. The program is currently operating and will continue as long as funding is obtained. In our preliminary data, we have found that 88% of the Veterans receiving the housing subsidy are attending 3/5 classes per week!
Supportive Services for Veteran Families
MVCH received a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist homeless veterans with intensive supportive services. MVCH is committed to ending homelessness for 50 households through this grant.
Other Assistance for Homeless Veterans:
With funding from the NM Department of Veterans, MVCH is able to assist homeless and near-homeless Veterans with a security deposit, first month’s rent, rent to prevent an eviction, assistance with some prescriptions, transportation, and more. Please contact us for further information.
HOMELESS AND NEAR-HOMELESS VETERAN ASSISTANCE FOR FISCAL YEAR JULY 2012-JUNE 2013:
Mesilla Valley Community of Hope HELPED:
287 Veterans with ongoing case management
29Veterans into housing at a specific complex
5 Veterans with Emergency Housing
7 Veterans facing eviction (so that they would not be evicted)
26 Veterans with Security Deposits
19 Veterans with first month’s rent
15 Veterans with utility assistance
10 Veterans get their ID
13 Veterans obtain their Birth Certificates
1 Veterans with Prescriptions
51 Veterans with bus passes
In total, with all other case management types, MVCH had 1,127 supports for Homeless Veterans during the year. Please help us to help those that have served us all.
Click this link to check Out ‘Camp Hope’ at Mesilla Valley Community of Hope:
Published on Jan 3, 2013
A documentary produced by D. John Young about Camp Hope in Las Cruces NM
This video ran Feb 22nd on KWRG News22: Camp Hope News Coverage
Click on Community of Hope’s Tent City Video